Numbness drapes itself around my shoulders like a cloak. Shock and disbelief stake their claim as well. Circumstances writhe their way around my neck, a threatening noose. Today six jurors returned a “not guilty” verdict to the truck driver who slammed into my Dodge Caliber on November 19, 2011. According to the jury foreperson there was “reasonable doubt” as to his culpability. To me, this verdict defies logic. The responding police officer described the scene as, “carnage, the worst accident he’s ever seen.” Viewing the scene upon arrival, he braced himself, certain he would find dead bodies. He also asserted, “it was like a war zone; helicopters landing, people screaming, emergency responders everywhere”. My husband and another driver involved in the accident testified regarding their recollection of the events. All of us, myself included, described our injuries. It would seem the jury found the truck driver, who had no attorney, could barely formulate a cohesive sentence and was determined to shift blame for the accident back onto my husband, a more more credible witness than the four of us combined.
The driver was initially issued a citation for, “failure to control speed”. Believing he was innocent of any wrong doing, he requested, and received a jury trial. When we were notified by the prosecutor of the driver’s intent, we were astonished. How could the accident not be his fault? All of the circumstances pointed to his guilt. His claim of innocence and subsequent acquittal defy all logic.
How do I move forward from this gross injustice? How do I come to terms with the fact that the man who started a domino effect that sent seven people to the hospital, walked away with no repercussions? I cannot answer those questions. I can only pray that God will heal the psychological and emotional damage brought on by today’s verdict just as he healed my broken body.